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50s Kay Bass, Should I Fix It?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by SleeperMan2000, Aug 20, 2002.


  1. SleeperMan2000

    SleeperMan2000

    Jul 31, 2002
    Cary NC
    I bought a 50s Kay Bass for $1600. After playing it for 4 months I had it looked at by a luthier to see if the setup was ok.

    He said the fingerboard was warped and a new bridge would need to be cut. New Fingerboard + Installation + New Bridge Cut = $1000.

    Is it worth putting any more $ into this thing?

    I don't have pics, but it is not in great shape and has some touch up with grey spraypaint.

    I've only been playing 4 months and am taking lessons. I am definitely a non-gigging student. I would like to play this thing a few more years before I trade up, but I'm afriad w/o proper setup I'll break my hand long before that!

    Any advice would be great. Thanks all.
     
  2. Tim Ludlam

    Tim Ludlam

    Dec 19, 1999
    Carmel, IN
    Sleeperman:

    I feel for ya man. I guess it's just plain stupid, now, to ask why? When you drop down a huge chunk of dough, you wanna it to be backed-up with the opinion of a luthier or a serious musician who can assess the quality and value of the instrument.

    Anyway, you are now in a situation where you are potentially "damned if you do and damned if you don't". I'll leave it to the Lex Luthiers to help you out on that, but I will say that a 50's Kay can easily sell for $2600 if it is a good bass. So you can get your money back, maybe, when you decide to trade up.

    ..........and did I hear you say, "grey paint"?

    aaaaaaggggggghhhhhhh!!!!!!
     
  3. SleeperMan2000

    SleeperMan2000

    Jul 31, 2002
    Cary NC
    I'm working the angle of trading it now with the guy I bought it from. He is so far amenable to it and runs about 40 Kay Basses through his shop in a year (or so he claims). It means the money will be spent on upgrading to a better old Kay Bass (hopefully). If we can work a deal I'll include the opinion of a luthier in the decision. Live and learn.

    I've also been offered to trade it in for a new one by a local dealer. He says they are the "good" Chinese ones (not Cremona or their ilk). I think I'll stick with Vintage though. I played a new Englehart and the Kay, even with the warped fingerboard, sounded better.
     
  4. SleeperMan2000

    SleeperMan2000

    Jul 31, 2002
    Cary NC
    Update:

    I did some more homework, called every luthier in NC on Bob Gollihur's list. Found one in next town that will fix it for under $400.

    Will check them out next week.
     
  5. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    The sting of poor quality will surely outlast the joy of a low price...Spend the money, get the job done right, and you'll have many years of enjoyment from the bass.
     
  6. SleeperMan2000

    SleeperMan2000

    Jul 31, 2002
    Cary NC
    thanks for the advice, I called them all and interviewed them. Trying to find one that works on basses, not just cellos and violins. (Basses are the same thing, only bigger, right?).

    think I found my luthier. this guy is a upright bass player as well and started working on his own instruments.
     
  7. moondoggie

    moondoggie

    Dec 22, 2001
    Los Angeles
    I Learned a good lesson when I bought my first bass. I recognized a couple of problems that needed to be fixed and negotiated a price. Well, when I found a good luthier, he found a couple of more things that needed attention. He told me that next time, I should bring him the bass first and he would go over it, free of charge. Then I would know how much the bass was going to end up costing me. I looked at a bass that I was interested in and offered to pay for an evaluation. It cost me thirty dollars (I was out of town and found a luthier) to find out the bass was in terrible shape, and wasn't worth the money......Hope this helps someone
     

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